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This is my last StressPoints column as the president of ISTSS. ISTSS has been my professional home for more than 20 years. As we move to year’s end, it can be a time to reflect and give thanks. It has been an honor to lead this organization through this year. I am proud of how ISTSS as an organization has risen to the challenges of 2020. Seeing new and old friends during our virtual meeting, watching us come together with passion and dedication to address the challenges facing our global communities left me feeling inspired and uplifted by you all and by this organization. As an organization, over the course of this year we have accomplished a great deal. For this last column, I have chosen to highlight those efforts that expand the reach of ISTSS and move us closer to our overall mission of ameliorating the consequences of traumatic stress and expanding knowledge about the field of traumatic stress.

I am thankful for how successfully we pivoted to a virtual meeting format for our annual meeting and the rich program that touched on many of the greatest challenges facing our global community. Program highlights included talks on racial injustice, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, mass violence, refugee mental health and the need to increase access to care. The program highlighted new innovations in how to address these challenges, both in terms of innovative means of treatment delivery and novel new research methodologies. In future years what we learn from this virtual meeting format may help us try out new ways to enlarge our traumatic stress community to include more of those who would not be able to travel to an in-person meeting. What we have learned from this adventure may provide us with new ways to stay connected with each other between annual meetings and may increase our capacity to support ISTSS Global Meetings. Many thanks to the Annual Meeting Organizing Committee (Dr. Rachel Hiller and Dr. Emily Dworkin) and the Scientific Program Committee (Dr. Michele Bedard-Gilligan and Dr. Rachel Liebman) for their tireless efforts.

I am thankful for the incredible work conducted this year by our Public Information and Education (PIE) committees and task forces. Over this past year the PIE task force, led by Drs. Nicole Nugent and Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling, completed a comprehensive analysis of our educational content and interviewed our members about their needs and desires for educational content. Out of this work they have provided the organization with a 3-5 year road map of where we should be focused in terms of our learning content outside of the annual meeting that is innovative, timely, and responsive to our members needs.

I am thankful for the new educational products developed this year by the Public Information and Education-Production committee, led by Dr. Melissa Zielinski. They launched the #TraumaTalk Podcast Series which covers a range of topics including managing suicidality, coping with roadblocks when delivering treatment, addressing PTSD and substance use comorbidity, and working with medical trauma. They have also launched the Friday Fast Facts initiative to produce small-bite learning products regularly that are free to members and non-members. These products include clinically oriented fact sheets, research briefs and a podcast each on the same topic for a month. To ensure that the scientific rigor remains high for all of our educational product, the PIE-review committee, led by Dr. Jen Wachen, has developed and implemented a transparent and systematic review process for these educational products.

I am thankful as well for the commitment to expanding knowledge around topics of high interest to the broad global community demonstrated by ISTSS. In the interests of this ISTSS produced two free webinars this year. The COVID Pandemic Toolkit for Emotional Coping for Healthcare Staff webinar has been viewed more than 3,000 times since it was posted demonstrating the high degree of relevance of the topic to the community. The Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity SIG organized a webinar on Trauma from an Intersectional Perspective that has been viewed more than 500 times by individuals from more than 25 countries. We also released a topically important talk from the 2019 annual meeting on building Resilience in Perilous Times by Ann Masten.

And lastly, I am thankful for our community. I am deeply grateful to the ISTSS Executive Committee this past year (Angela Nickerson, Eric Bui, Ananda Amstadter, Candice Monson, and Julian Ford) who helped us all stay on track. I am grateful to the sustained efforts of the ISTSS Board of Directors, and am deeply grateful to the hard working ISTSS staff. Last of all, I am grateful for all of you our dedicated and passionate members who truly make up the heart of this organization.